(Illustration: Cat Jensen)
Welcome to my new column, Go There!
In Go There! I will explore all the best parts of Taipei and Taiwan - the queer, the alternative, the vegan and the flat out weird.
As a newbie to both Taiwan and Queerious, I am in the perfect position to check out these spots from the perspective of ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing’, which is a position that a lot of you are probably in right now. Feel free to learn from my mistakes. Alternatively, if you have been here for a while, or are a Taiwanese local, you can just sit back and enjoy watching me struggle. I’ve done a lot of travelling and I promise you I tend to make some SPECTACULAR mistakes.
I aim to make this column a challenge based one, so instead of picking the spots to visit I will be asking other Queerious members to send me to places of their choosing. If you would like to join in and send me somewhere – or invite me somewhere – then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise nothing, but I will definitely consider all suggestions, and am aiming for diversity, of all kinds.
I should probably add in the caveat that I won’t be doing this entirely alone. I will be collaborating with locals and combining their experiences with mine to give you a good overview of the places that I will be visiting, as well as producing some more interview based pieces where appropriate.
To give you a bit of background on me, I’m a queer vegan cis lady from New Zealand. Yes, it really is that beautiful. No, we are not sick of you asking us about Lord of the Rings. About half our economy is now based around those films, so please, please, keep obsessing. I grew up in a small farming town, which is probably why I have spent the last few years of my life living in various spots around the globe. I came to Taiwan because I wanted to teach English in a place where it wasn’t legal to fire me for being a lady who loves ladies and so far I’m pretty happy with my choice.
Because, guys, Taipei is so queer.
Taipei is so queer that you can spot openly queer couples on the street. Taipei is so queer that you can pick up other queer people in STRAIGHT BARS, and seriously, that didn’t even happen in London. Taipei is so queer that you can do so openly, without looking around and calculating the chance of a hate crime first.
Taipei is so, so queer.
And yes, I’ve only been here for a negligible amount of time, and yes, I know it has problems and homophobia/transphobia/queerphobia like everywhere else, and yes, I have no clue what it’s like in places that aren’t the biggest city in the country, but still. I am so excited to explore this place and I am so excited to bring you all along for the ride.
We’re going to have so much fun you guys.
(Editing: Hannah Fazio)